Tag Archives: royalty

Tea and Cake; a birthday sampler

It’s my birthday.

Many years ago, on a tropical evening, towards the end of the hurricane season, I was welcomed in to the world. A lot has happened since, but not a lot happened today. Not a lot if you ignore yet another visit from tradesmen measuring and muttering over the ongoing saga of the repairs to my house. But a little, or a lot, I am posting now to honour my birthday which, when I had time to consider it, seemed to take care of itself with tea and cake.

Here is a sampler of my birthday

From family in Australia, the tea. Don't panic; it's only a birthday

From a  friend close by; the cake.Cake for a Queen

From the  garden; more tea!Sasanqua CamelliaFrom my  daughter; the soundtrack  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMeT5Qcsh0s

Extras:

The card, from my family in Australia, is not actually a birthday card. It was a ‘fun’ card which happened to arrive in time for my birthday. The real birthday card is still negotiating postal services and has failed to arrive on time.

The  delicious cake, under the nasturtiums, is made using a recipe from the Royal Family. I think it is called The Queen’s Favourite.  One of my favourites too.

The sasanqua camellia is one of several that bloomed TODAY (just for me?). I was so busy looking at blue flowers in the garden yesterday that I failed to notice the buds on the camellias. I was very surprised to see them flowering this afternoon. I have had the camellias for a few years, espaliered along the back fence, but this is the best flowering since they were planted. Tea?

Perfect timing

The leaves of the sasanqua camellia can be used to make tea.

To all you dear people who sent cards, text messages, Facebook greetings, emails,  or who phoned or skyped or brought gifts, You are gifts to me THANK YOU.

Take a bow. Take a bow I cherish your love, support and friendship.

© silkannthreades

The presents of this day

I don’t know the origin of this saying …… “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why we call it the present.”, but it is one of my favourites.  It always brings a smile to my heart.  It was especially apt for today because, it seems to me, that this present day was full of gifts….. or is it, this gift of today was full of presents? Either way, I have had so many presents since I  began my day  that it almost feels as though it should be my birthday.

Here are some samples from the gift list.

First and foremost, my laptop has been successfully repaired and is now back in its rightful  place, on my bench, and working like a dream.  I want to sing and dance and give a medal to the patient technician who carefully and lovingly restored my old machine to its former pristine glory.

Next, because I have my own laptop at my fingertips again, I was able to access Facebook easily and, there, I found a wonderful quote waiting for me. I have read this one before but it was good to be reminded of it : ” Joy is what makes life worth living, but ,for many, joy seems hard to find. They complain that their lives are sorrowful and depressing. What then brings the joy we so much desire? Are some people just lucky, while others have run out of luck? Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose to live it quite differently from the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it. What makes us human is precisely this freedom of choice.”
– Henri Nouwen    I am not sure that I agree totally with these words but I do like the idea that we may have the option to choose joy.

After Facebook, I checked in to my favourite National Gallery website to see the Painting of the Month http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/painting-of-the-month/. And here I discovered the amazing Rachel Ruysch, and her Flowers in a Vase , painted about 1685.  There is such exquisiteness in this featured still life that I could spend all  day looking at it.

However, if I did that, I wouldn’t have time to share my other delights of the day which, of course, relate to my monarch butterflies. When I woke this morning, I peeked out the bedroom window to check the weather and I saw four butterflies trying to warm up under overcast skies.  What a wonderful sight to see first thing in the morning. Good Morning Sunshine

And I also saw this chrysalis which maybe the mystery waiting for its tomorrow.Tomorrow's mystery

Another  present was the present of laughter, given to me by the cat; naturally. She is so resourceful and an expert in cuteness.  She slipped inside this afternoon when my son came by and, a while later, she was discovered in a state of extreme purrtentment, on my daughter’s bed.  My daughter left home a couple of years ago, so we think Zoe Cat  was saying,” Well, if my sister is not here, I am not going to let a good bed go to waste.”  I am only surprised she hasn’t thought of this before now.

Here is the warm orange fluffball on a cloud of blue bliss. Purrtentment

My unexpected bonus gift of the day was the discovery that my michelia tree  is covered with  beautiful russet coloured buds with the texture of the richest and most luxurious velvet. How about that; a gift wrapped in velvet 🙂Wrapped in velvet

Question; do you notice a certain, orange-y autumnal theme in this post? I think there is but it wasn’t intended. It happened of its own accord.

© silkannthreades

No caterpillars, no computer, no butterflies, no earrings; just Swans!

My faithful five-year old laptop decided to have a tantrum last week, followed by a meltdown. Ditto for me when it happened. I am hapless and brainless without my technology. My son kindly agreed to lend me his laptop until mine is repaired ( hopefully it  is repairable ). It is  wonderful to have a laptop again but my son’s is so  much newer than mine that I hardly know what to do with it. It makes me feel as though I am back in school struggling with long division.

However, in the spirit of having a go, here is my first attempt at a post from a strange (to me) laptop.

The caterpillars on my swan plants are no more. They are all in their cocoon stage. One of the cocoons looks almost ready to be a butterfly  The others are still cogitating and storing up memories. The swan plants are putting out new leaves and, at the same time, they are producing the swans that give them their name.

Here are the swans; not sure if they get any more swan like  when the seed balloons open. Apparently the seeds have silky tufts.Little green swan

Closer swanSwan

The swans and the cocoons make me think of pretty earrings which is, perhaps, why I almost bought a pair of pearl drop earrings this afternoon.  Almost; they weren’t very expensive, for pearl earrings, but I thought, “No, that money will pay for a laptop assessment. Restrain your impulse shopping!” So, I came home, minus new earrings, to write this post.

All done; time for dinner 🙂

© silkannthreades

My new lodger

Yesterday’s adventurous lone long ranger, the monarch caterpillar, is now my new lodger. It is settled in to its cocoon and is safely attached to the brick work at my front door.  It is in an ideal position for me to keep an eye on it. Thank you, little critter, for choosing my home for your confinement.Getting settledIn my corner

Footnote: I must remember to put a DO NOT DISTURB sign next to my lodger before the window cleaner comes tomorrow.

© silkannthreades

Lone long ranger

Yesterday I read a fascinating post on the theme of Wanderlust in far off South America. (http://playamart.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/the-wanderlust-breed/ ) Little did I expect that, this morning, I would witness something very like Wanderlust at my own front door.

Here it is; a solitary monarch caterpillar climbing up the brick facade of the house.Onward and upward

What possessed this little creature  to travel at least 15 metres from the other caterpillars and cocoons. Why was it not happy to stay near the others and the security of the swan plants and other vegetation? Does moving to the hot bricks of my front door, give it a competitive advantage? Or is it just an insatiably curious caterpillar full of wanderlust and the spirit of adventure?  Who are you?How far will I wander?Tomorrow I will see if there is a cocoon decorating my bricks, or if the caterpillar has continued its wandering lone, long ranger journey.

© silkannthreades

Royal Process

There was much excitement ( for me!) in the royal nursery, yesterday. The first caterpillar successfully negotiated its way to adolescence. I noticed in the morning that one of the caterpillars looked as though it was ready to make a cocoon. I checked again about 2 in the afternoon but nothing had changed. I checked again about 3 hours later and the job was done. I am slightly miffed that I missed the chrysalis process. I need to watch more diligently when I see the next caterpillar preparing for its metamorphosis.Chrysalis

© silkannthreades

Wildlife and Waterford Reserve

Today is Show Day. We decided that the A&P Show would be too exciting for us, what with Prince Charles and Camilla being there, and all, so we went to another show  –  a wildlife one at Waterford Reserve. It was very tranquil, except for being dive bombed by two nesting swallows and being told off very vigorously by a pukeko.

Here is a tranquil view of Waterford Reserve.

And here is one of the wildlife, plus wild weeds

More wildlife; ducks, that is!

This pair turned their backs on me. At first, I thought they were resting with their young but, on closer inspection, the strange shapes near them appeared to be dry flax flowers. Were they substitutes for lost babies? They were being protective of them.It’s nice to see all the daisies and dandelions and general weedage. It means that no one has been reckless with weed killer.  Here is a pretty orange flowered weed

Then it was home in the little “motoka kiwikiwi” where we found, awaiting us, the wildest wildlife of all, aka Jack :D.